Slettmarkkampen and Slettmarkpiggen
Eidsbugarden - Slettmarkpiggen trail
|Difficulty:||Long. Tricky point down from Slettmarkkampen|
|Risk:||Exposed point down from Slettmarkkampen.|
Exposed summit on Slettmarkpiggen.
|Time:||6-8 hours round-trip|
Slettmarkpiggen and Slettmarkkampen lie on the north side of Lake Bygdin, accessible from Eidsbugarden tourist centre in the southern part of Jotunheimen mountain range.
On the road over Fillefjell (Lærdal - Fagernes), exit towards Lake Tyin and Eidsbugarden. Follow signs towards Eidsbugarden on the north side of lake Tyin. Parking is available at Eidsbugarden.
From Eidsbugarden, follow the trail on the north side of lake Bygdin until you meet the river from lake 1271. Head north up the valley. You cross the Høystokka river over a bridge and head northeast with Oksedalshøi on your right. When you get to the Oksdalen trail junction, head east towards Oksdalen, but leave the trail soon after and head northwest towards Slettmarkkampen. The terrain is rock and scree, but offers no problems.
From Slettmarkkampen, you have to get down on the wide saddle to Slettmarkpiggen. This descent has one exposed point, and some will choose not continue without any form of safety measures. From the saddle, the remaining part up to Slettmarkpiggen is easy. The summit point is however exposed. See picture below.
You will have to return the same way you came.
Expect 6-8 hours round-trip for Slettmarkkampen and Slettmarkpiggen. The exposed point down to the saddle involves (as I can recall) moving down on to a lower ledge with little or no handhold. It can be jumped, but this is where the word "exposed" comes into play. Oddly enough, in my opinion, no guide books or trip reports mention the Slettmarkpiggen summit itself. As we were wrapped in fog, I might have picture a drop that doesn't exist, but the ascent onto the summit required handhold.
See also the Skinneggi hike the following day.
I am writing this trip report 2 years after the hike, trying to recollect details at best effort.
This trip turned out to be my worst nightmare. In retrospect, after having gained more skills in hiking, I gladly admit that we acted way outside the normal safety margins. However, I do realize that many people are blessed with no fear of height, and would possibly find the route to be described here as "interesting scrambling".
On a cloudy August morning, my friend Bjørn and I left Eidsbugarden and headed directly towards Slettmarkkampen. The ascent to the summit offered no problems, although the fog allowed for vague views only. As we headed for the saddle between Slettmarkkampen and Slettmarkpiggen, we arrived a rather exposed point. For me, it was at first too exposed to proceed. But after 10 minutes, I acclimatized and decided that a jump to the ledge below could be done. I assumed the fog was hiding a 600m drop, so I had to get that out of my head.
We got down on the saddle and proceeded to the Slettmarkpiggen summit. The actual summit point also looked exposed, and I needed another 10 minutes to cool my head. There was a crack (see picture below) that ran up the summit block, and by placing our feet in the crack, while leaning towards the mountain, we got up. If I felt uncomfortable going up, it felt worse going down.
Back at the saddle, the fog led us towards the southern face, dropping down to lake Oksedalstjønn. As we started to descend, we realized we were on the wrong path, but my friend Bjørn was eager to explore this side of the mountain. My map reading at the time wasn't all that great, but I remember I didn't like the dense curves. That said, I couldn't quite figure out how we would get up where we jumped down, so of two evils, I had to choose one.
As I recall, the drop was vertical all around us, but we found a crevasse that we could follow for a while. For the first few hundred meters, it was possible to step carefully from rock to rock. Then, we arrived a few exposed points, where we had to slide down a few meters and aim for a rock to stop. About 100-150m above the lake I had more than enough nerves to fight, in addition to the difficult terrain. An effort to try to climb down a route with little handhold failed. Finally we were able to make it horizontally to another crevasse, and from there safely descend to the lake. At the point where I realized I couldn't climb down, I felt a scare like I never had felt before. It was controlling my mind and my body. It was an interesting experience to fight it and focus on the matter at hand. The scare prevented me from finding the handhold to get back up, so I was literally stuck for a while.
The hike altogether took 9 hours, and we really enjoyed good wine and a meal back at Eidsbugarden. I plan to do another hike back up there to take a few photos of the place we descended. Just to see how it looks with no fog, and if the terrain is like I rememberd it to be.
This is where we came down:
Pictures: (move cursor to read notes, and click on the images to see full version)
Some of the thumbnails may have been cropped to fit the format
Other trail descriptions for this region: